Humberto Castro knows nothing of wealth, and Stanley Hiller knows nothing of poverty.
But both are experts in the art of survival.
Hiller is a multimillionaire with a golden touch whose skills and insights have taught a long list of struggling companies to prosper.
Castro’s survival techniques are practiced at a different level. He has lifted his family from poverty in Mexico by hard work.
Castro and Hiller have never met, but they are collaborators in the future of Key Tronic Corp., which makes computer keyboards.
To help one of Spokane’s oldest high-tech companies succeed in the global arena, Hiller sacrificed jobs in Spokane County. He sent most of Key Tronic’s production work to a factory with far lower labor costs in Ciudad Juarez, where Castro and thousands of other people are eager for jobs.
The move to Juarez stabilized the company and re-established it as a staple of the Spokane economy.
Company officials say without qualification that Key Tronic would not have survived unless production was moved to Mexico.
And without Key Tronic, Castro’s bid for a better life would be far more difficult.
Today, The Spokesman-Review begins a series of stories that explores this relationship extending from the Inland Northwest to the Mexican border. Please turn to Section H for our first day of coverage.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color Photos